Jennifer Finney Boylan on Remembering the T in LGBT Author Jennifer Finney Boylan remembers a man at a ventriloquist convention saying to her "A bunch of magicians in the same room? That's a conversation. A bunch of ventriloquists? That's an argument." Boylan watched New York pass its marriage equality law and thought, "More than a few transgender people feel they've been sold out by the gay-rights movement and lament the way the 'T' in 'L.G.B.T.' always comes last. It makes me think, 'A bunch of straight people in a room? That's a conversation. A bunch of L.G.B.T. people in a room? That's an argument.'" Much more urgent to the LGBT community than marriage rights should be the statistics on violence and discrimination toward transgender people, she argues in The New York Times "Forty-one percent of [trans] respondents reported attempting suicide; of those who came out as students, 78 percent reported harassment, 35 percent physical assault and 12 percent sexual violence." It makes sense, though, that as gay men and lesbians enter the mainstream, their issues come first, she says. What's more, trans people tend to further subdivide into categories like "transsexual" and "transgender". "We can't afford that," she says. "[P]rogress in civil rights can only come with the numbers and resources found in unity."
Amanda Marshall on the Congressional Page Program Today Show producer Amanda Marshall served as a Congressional page in 1995, she writes in The New York Times. The pages answered phones, took out trash, and performed administrative tasks. "We didn't make history, but we helped make history possible," she writes. "No wonder so many elected officials got their first taste of politics as Congressional pages--it is a life-changing experience." Marshall laments that John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi recently announced they would cut the House's page program to save money. "Mr. Boehner and Ms. Pelosi argue... that it had outlived its usefulness, that in the Internet era, the House simply doesn’t need glorified messengers," she said. "But pages were more than messengers. They did the critical jobs that people often forget about: collecting a congressman's prepared remarks after a speech, so they could be added to the official record; raising the American flag over the south wing of the Capitol when the House was in session; even waking up members when they were catching a nap during late-night sessions." The program serves not only Congress, but the pages, who learn quickly, and are often inspired to go into government themselves (or in Marshall's case, into journalism). "It is a shame that, to save a few dollars, Congress has forgotten that this is where political dreams start," she writes.